Girls Not Brides Ghana (GNBG), a non-governmental organisation committed to addressing child marriage, has petitioned the government to take pragmatic measures to end child marriage in the country.
According to the organisation, though the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) has taken critical lead and published the Ghana National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage (GNSECM), there are still vacuums in translating the policy into action.
The Vice Chairperson of GNBG, Ms Eunice Maasodong, made the petition when the GNBG joined the global community to mark the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) at the Kanda Cluster of Schools in Accra.
It was on the theme: ‘Empower girls; before, during and after crisis.’
Ms Maasodong said sector ministries should be directed to integrate a focus on ending child marriage into their work.
In that light, she urged the private sector to get involved in the fight against child marriage, since it had huge impacts on businesses and the country’s economy.
She, therefore, called on civil society organisations to coordinate and hold government accountable for their international, regional and national commitment, especially in developing ambitious plans for implementing Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which addresses gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The Executive Director of Family Matters Foundation Ghana (FMFG), Mrs Irene Lorwia-Zakpaa, said statistics showed that the rate of child marriage in the Upper East Region currently stood at 38 per cent.
The Upper West Region has 39 per cent, Northern Region—36 per cent, Western Region—37 per cent, Brong Ahafo—32 per cent, Volta—33 per cent, Central 26—per cent, Ashanti—19 per cent, while the Greater Accra and Eastern regions recorded the least rate of 11 per cent each.
Mrs Lorwia-Zakpaa stated that the situation should be a worry to the country, as Ghana was one of the 193 countries that had adopted the SDGs.
The Project Coordinator of Child Marriage Unit of the MGCSP, Mr Foster Adzraku, received the petition and urged girls to report assaults and other related cases to trusted people.
He also advised girls to be serious with their studies in order to be good role models “as government makes efforts to end the practice.”
For his part, the Greater Accra President of Ghana NGO Coalition on Child Rights, Mr Jack James Dawson, urged parents to provide their children, especially the young, with information on sexual education.